British actress Jane Leeves is famous among American audiences thanks to her portrayal of physiotherapist Daphne Moon on the popular comedy series “Frasier” (1993-2004), from which she earned a Screen Actors Guild Award as well as an Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. More recently, she stars as Rejoyla “Joy” Scroggs in the sitcom “Hot in Cleveland” (TV Land, 2010-?), opposite Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Betty White. The role has brought her a Screen Actors Guild nomination. Leeves, who wanted to become a ballerina when she was younger before turning to model and eventually acting, also has guest starred in popular television series such as “Murphy Brown,” “Seinfeld,” “The Simpsons” and “Desperate Housewives.” Her film credits include “Miracle on 34th Street” (1994), “Mr. White” (1994), “James and the Giant Peach” (1996), “Music of the Heart” (1999) and “The Event” (2003).
Leeves has a production company called Bristol Cities, which she formed with “Frasier” co-star Peri Gilpin in 1998.
Leeves is married to television executive Marshall Coben. They have two children, Isabella (born 2001) and Finn (born 2003). The family currently live in Los Angeles, California. Leeves was once romantically involved to Grant Shaud. In her spare time, Leeves loves cooking, reading, taking part in sports and working out in dance classes.
Childhood and Family:
Jane Elizabeth Leeves was born on April 18, 1961, in Ilford, Essex, England, to Collin Leeves, an engineer, and Ruth Leeves, a nurse. Her family moved to East Grinstead, Sussex when she was two years old. There she grew up along with her two sisters and a brother. At age 5, Jane auditioned for the ballet program at the Bush Davies School of Theatre Arts in East Grinstead and ended up winning a full scholarship for dance. She danced throughout her teen and dreamed of becoming a ballerina. Her ambition cut short at age 18 when she suffered an ankle injury after falling down a flight of stairs. She then moved to London, where she worked as a model and started auditioning for film and television roles.
On December 21, 1996, Jane married Marshall Coben, a CBS Paramount Television executive. Their first child, daughter Isabella Kathryn Coben, was born January 9, 2001. “Frasier” co-star Peri Gilpin is the godmother of her daughter. The couple's second child, son Finn William Leeves Coben, was born on December 19, 2003. Both David Hyde Pierce and John Mahoney become the godfather of her son.
Hot in Cleveland
Jane Leeves has her first taste in front of the cameras in 1981 when she became one of the performers in the British television comedy “Nice to See You!” Two years later, she landed uncredited parts in two British films: “Monty Python's The Meaning of Life,” starring John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle, and “The Hunger,” starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon. Still in 1983, she joined the cast of the popular British comedy television show “Benny Hill Show,” starring Benny Hill. She played one of Hill's Angels for two years.
In 1985, with nothing more than $1,000 and a few changes of clothes, Leeves left England to try her luck in Los Angeles. In L.A., she attended acting classes where her classmates included future superstars like Jim Carrey, Winona Ryder, and Ellen DeGeneres. However, she had difficulties to find any acting jobs for about 18 months. To pay the bills, she worked at a factory packaging nail accessories, and after she was fired, she took on work as a babysitter and as a clerk in a souvenir shop. During the hard times, she shared a flat with fellow actress Faith Ford.
Leeves' luck started to change in 1986 when she was cast in the co-starring role of Prudence Anne 'Blue' Bartlett on the American television comedy series “Throb,” which Broadcast in syndication from 1986 to 1988. In 1987, she made a guest appearance as Gwen Petrie in an episode of the CBS hit series “Murder, She Wrote” called “It Runs in the Family.” It was followed by guest spots in a string of television series such as “Making a Living” (1989), “Hooperman” (1989), “Mr. Belvedere” (1989), “My Two Dads” (1990), “Room for Romance” (1990), “Who's the Boss?” (1990), “Blossom” (1991) and “Pacific Station” (1992), but she did not get further notice until she joined the cast of the CBS hit comedy series “Murphy Brown” in the recurring role of Audrey Cohen. She appeared in a total of nine episodes between 1989 to 1993.
In 1992, Leeves appeared as Marla Penny, the virginal girlfriend of Jerry Seinfeld, in two episodes of the popular NBC sitcom “Seinfeld.” She would return to reprise the role in two more episodes in 1993 and then 1998.
“I read for them one day, then Kelsey Grammer walked in and read with me the next day, and they said, 'Could you go outside for a second?' I went outside and then they opened the door and said, 'ladies and gentlemen, Daphne Moon.'” Jane Leeves
Leeves' huge break arrived when she landed the regular role of Daphne Moon, an English physiotherapist hired by Frasier to help take care of Martin, on the NBC sitcom “Frasier,” starring Kelsey Grammer as the title character. She remained with the show throughout its eleven season run from September 1993 to May 2004. Leeves was nominated for a 1995 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV and a 1998 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her bright acting. She also received two Golden Satellite nominations Best Performance by an Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical (2000) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Comedy or Musical (2004), a 2001 TV Guide nomination for Supporting Actress of the Year in a Comedy Series and Q Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series at the 1995 Viewers for Quality Television Awards. Besides, she shared a 2000 Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
During her stint on “Frasier,” Leeves kept on busy working on other acting projects. In 1994, she played the supporting role of Wylie in the comedy film “Mr. White,” starring Paul Reiser, Jessica Tuck and Martin Mull, and offered a notable performance as Alberta Leonard on the Les Mayfield directed drama “Miracle on 34th Street,” opposite Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan McDermott. She next guest starred as Daphne Moon in an episode of “Caroline in the City” called “Caroline and the Bad Back” (1995), played Rachel Sherwood in the television film adaptation of “Pandora's Clock” (1996), opposite Richard Dean Anderson, Stephen Root, Robert Loggia and Daphne Zuniga, and did voice overs in the animated film “James and the Giant Peach” (1996, as Ladybug) and “Hercules: The Animated Series” (1998, as Athena). In 1999, she supported Jenny Seagrove, Anthony Edwards and Charles Dance in the British film “Don't Go Breaking My Heart,” directed by Willi Patterson, portrayed Dorothea von Haeften in “Music of the Heart,” a drama/music film starring Meryl Streep, Cloris Leachman and Henry Dinhofer and directed by Wes Craven, and landed a guest spot in “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.” She continued to appear in episodes of “Late Night with Conan O'Brien” (2000) and “The Simpsons” (2003, as the voice of Edwina) as well as in the direct to video animated film “The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina” (2002, as Margaret Beetle) and “The Event” (2003), a drama film directed by Thom Fitzgerald and starring Parker Posey, Don McKellar, Olympia Dukakis and Sarah Polley. In summer of 2002, Leeves could be seen on stage making her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.”
After “Frasier” ended in 2004, Leeves was scheduled to star in a television sitcom, “Misconceptions,” for The WB Network for the 2005-2006 season. However, the show was canceled before it aired. In 2006, she guest starred as Mary Frances in the NBC short lived sitcom “ Twenty Good Years” and provided the voice of Eenie in “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties,” the sequel to 2004's live-action feature film “Garfield: The Movie.” Two years later, she resurfaced as Ann Hefton in two episodes of “The Starter Wife.” In 2009, Leeves had a supporting role in the comedy film “Endless Bummer,” starring Jim Piddock, Ray Santiago and Khan Chittenden, and her voice could be heard in epsilons of “Phineas and Ferb” (3 episdoes) and “ The Penguins of Madagascar” (1 episode).
In 2010, Leeves portrayed Dr. Graham in two episodes of “Desperate Housewives” called “The Glamorous Life” and “How About a Friendly Shrink?” and Gracie in an episode of “Notes from the Underbelly” called “ Accidental Family Bed.” The same year, she also returned to television series as a regular in the sitcom “Hot in Cleveland,” playing an unmarried beautician, Rejoyla “Joy” Scroggs. The show, created by Suzanne Martin, who served as executive story editor and writer on “Frasier,” premiered on TV Land on June 16, 2010 and became the highest rated telecast in the cable network's 14 year history. In 2011, she jointly netted a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for her work in the series.
Screen Actors Guild : Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 2000
Viewers for Quality Television: Q Award, Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series, “Frasier,” 1995